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I'm just back from a week in cold and snowy Boston. Lots of fun, but the weather was a bit limiting. Very busy, too.

I drank a random selection of Pretty Things stuff, Stouts, a few IPAs, beers people gave me and whatever looked decent in whichever pub I was in. Met old friends, made new ones and generally had a good time. I even spent a few hours with the family.

But I'm not here to talk about my time in Boston. Well, not directly.

We'd been advised that the Coop on Harvard Square was the cheapest place to buy Harvard stuff. But mostly it sells books. I couldn't resist taking a look at the beer section.

And there was really a section. Even though it was labelled "Wines and Spirits", there were a decent number of books. About 30 times as many as you'll find in a large German bookshop. Mostly American stuff, but some by British authors.

It gave me a chance to take a look at some books I'd heard about, but not seen. You can probably guess what's coming next. I had a simple way of checking their accuracy: look at what they said about the history of IPA, Porter, Stout and Mild.

I'm not sure what's more depressing: the errors or the fact that they all repeated the same ones. I don't think anyone had researched any further than the BJCP guidelines.

There was one unique to a single book. Something about Russian Stout, saying that it was really a type of Barley Wine and not a Stout in the modern sense at all. Quite an impressive garbling of history. Mixing up the stories of Burton Ale and Russian Stout.

I'm pretty sure it was in "The Complete Joy of Homebrewing" by Charlie Papazian. But I'm not sure, because I looked at 8 or 10 books. Does anyone own a copy? If you do, could you send me the passage in question? It's not that long.